News

Economic, Security Issues Top N. American Summit

U.S. President George W. Bush, Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada conclude their summit talks Tuesday at a Canadian resort. VOA White House Correspondent Paula Wolfson reports they are focusing on economic and security issues.

They are looking for ways to make the North American Free Trade Agreement more efficient by facilitating the flow of goods and services across safe borders.

It is a matter of extreme economic importance. Canada is the United States biggest trading partner, and Mexico is not far behind. Energy exports - primarily oil - are paramount.

Regional experts, such as David Biette, say the stakes are high.

"It is important that we be able to get the things that we need as Americans in our stores and for our businesses easily and without a lot of worry that they are going to get stuck at the border," said David Biette.

Biette is the Director of the Canada Institute at Washington's Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars. He says the three leaders have to increase border security without creating obstacles to trade.

"It is working together, assessing risk and keeping the bad guys out and keeping good stuff going," he said. "And that works on the Canada-US border as well as the Mexico-US border. There is a lot of work to do there."

The White House says no major announcements are expected to emerge from this North America summit. U.S. officials say the goal is to give the three leaders an opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to a prosperous and secure hemisphere.

They will do so under the auspices of the Security and Prosperity Partnership, or SPP, an initiative begun in 2005. Opponents on the left say the whole idea is merely a way to put more money in the pockets of big business, while those on the right fear it would lead to a European Union-style super-government in North America.

Armand Perschard, head of the Mexico program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, says they are playing to the fears of people in all three countries.

"I tend to see that there is a nationalistic segment of society in all three countries that tend to be the globo-phobes of the three societies," said Armand Perschard. "They tend to look at the SPP negatively in a sense because they see the deepening integration of North America as something that would be counter-productive and something that would be an encroachment on the sovereignty of the three nations."

Thousands of protesters have vowed to disrupt the summit. Three-meter-high fences were erected around the grounds of the luxury resort housing the talks to keep them away.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs